Life in Paramore couldn’t be much better than it is now.
The group is following a major tour last summer with Fall Out Boy with a headlining tour this spring. It includes a stop at Bell Auditorium at 8 p.m. Monday, April 27. Tickets are $35-$75 from georgialinatix.com, (877) 428-4849 and the James Brown Arena box office.
Meanwhile, the group – which already has had a platinum album, (2007’s Riot!) and a gold album (2009’s Brand New Eyes) – has seen its latest album, a 2013 self-titled effort, top the Billboard magazine album chart and Ain’t It Fun, become its biggest single to date. The song topped both the Hot Rock Songs and Adult Top 40 charts. A previous single, Still Into You, went top 10 on Billboard’s Mainstream Top 40 and Hot Rock Songs charts.
“Everyone seems to be pretty excited about what’s going on with Paramore and that makes us feel awesome,” Paramore singer Hayley Williams said during a teleconference interview.
The success of the self-titled release is more than enough reason to savor the moment as it is. But Williams’ feelings are even more understandable considering the events that preceded the album.
In December 2010, guitarist Josh Farro and his brother, drummer Zac Farro, quit the band, throwing the group’s future into question. While the remaining trio of Williams, guitarist Taylor York and bassist Jeremy Davis quickly made it clear that Paramore would continue, Josh Farro had been Williams’ main songwriting collaborator. They were going to have to reinvent themselves as a band.
It wasn’t an easy process, which began with realizing the trio needed to reconnect as friends before anything else could happen.
“That alone, before we even got to writing music, that took time,” Williams said. “And it took us making a really valiant effort to get to know one another again as people. So Jeremy and Taylor and I would hang out, usually at Jeremy’s house, because he lives way out in the country. And we would just kind of like watch tons of movies or cook a meal. I remember one day there was a crazy snowstorm, and Jeremy’s friends built this couch sled and we spent the whole day sledding down this massive hill on a couch, which was wild. It was important for that stuff to happen before we got into a studio.”
Along with bonding as friends, the trio also decided to do a couple of tours (with guitarists Jon Howard and Justin York and drummer Josh Freese filling out the lineup) before getting to work on the self-titled album. The songs didn’t just start pouring out.
“I remember going over to Taylor’s house, which he has a little studio in his place, a few times where there was just no electricity,” Williams said. “There were a lot of times where Taylor and I would leave really discouraged. Then it happened. Once the first song sort of came out – I think the first song we finished was called Proof, which made it to the record. That was the spark that we needed. And they kept rolling out.”
In writing for the self-titled album, the band made a key decision not to be defined by the punky pop-rock of its earlier CDs or any outside expectations for how a Paramore album should sound.
The Paramore album still includes some songs like Fast In My Car, Still Into You and Anklebiters that fit the hyper-hooky, punky sound of the earlier albums. But the group has progressed musically. Ain’t It Fun may be the best example of their willingness to explore new territory. The rocker has a strong bit of funk to go with its bouncy melody. But there’s also poppier slant to Daydreaming and Grow Up, and a pensive quality to Last Hope.
“I actually feel like we redefined ourselves in the sense that there aren’t as many, what’s the word, it’s not as narrow of a path,” Williams said. “I feel like we’ve broadened our horizons a little bit. We’ve broken through whatever feeling was there before and we’ve kind of discovered that we don’t have to be or meet anyone’s expectations.”
The continued success Paramore is having is creating one complication when it comes to the group’s live show – choosing a set list.
“It’s crazy when you get into a place where you’re having to fit so many songs into a certain amount of minutes, and you’re thinking like how are we going to play, first of all, all of the singles, (and) how are we going to play all of the songs that please all of our old-school fans?” she said. “I think it’s going to be really exciting for whatever kind of Paramore fans might be at the show. I feel like we’re hopefully going to make all of them happy.”